Time to eat?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I once watched a program, probably on Discovery Health, that told the stories of three different people and how they all used different means to lose over 100 pounds. I can’t really remember two of them, but one of them really stuck in my head. She played around with when to eat her biggest meal until she found out what worked for her – and then she made her whole family conform to that. In the morning, before the kids went to school and hubby went to work, the whole family sat down and ate a large dinner. Then lunch was a little lighter and in the evening they ate a light breakfast.

This got me to thinking about my hunger patterns and how I used to totally ignore them because having our biggest meal in the evening is just how it’s done.

Before I started Weight Watchers, I never ate breakfast. Before noon, it was strictly coffee for me. Unless of course there were Krispy Kremes in the break room at work – in which case I was definitely eating.

Then for lunch, when I was starving, I would fast-food it – usually going to Burger King which was closest and getting a double cheeseburger and a very large order of onion rings. With the dipping sauce, of course. Every single day. The thought of that makes me just a tad nauseous now. Then there would be junk food in the afternoon, followed by dinner, the biggest, most fat-laden, carb-heavy meal of the day. Yes, usually even more so than those double cheeseburgers.

Sheesh. Is it any wonder I got so huge? All that nutritionally bankrupt food was spiking my blood sugar up and down all day long, making me constantly hungry. No, not hungry, ravenous. I couldn’t stop eating.

Then when I started Weight Watchers, all of my eating habits changed. And not just what I was eating, but how I was eating it. I started eating a light breakfast every day and would spread my lunch out over the course of the afternoon. For example, I would eat a big salad at noon, melba toast and Laughing Cow cheese at 2:00, and raw vegetables or a big bowl of strawberries at 3:30 or 4:00.

By the time I got home by 6:00, I just didn’t feel like having a big meal. I was surprised to find I really only wanted something light for dinner, usually a small piece of fish or chicken with a side of stir-fried vegetables.

Now I eat like this all the time. The people at work, who I’ve mentioned before, love to make comments on my big old bag o’food that I haul into work every day. But that whole bag (which includes my breakfast) probably doesn’t have more than 700 calories in it. And I am happy all day.

So I think that woman on the Discovery Health Channel was really onto something. Paying attention to your body’s signals can really help you to see at which time of the day you need to eat heavier and at what time you need to eat lighter.

But I have to wonder how she managed to get her family’s body signals on the same wavelength as hers. I just can’t see that ever happening in the Jelly Belly household.